It’s Temari Time. As you read this, I am at the Handweaver’s Guild of America’s Convergence convention, blissfully surrounded by colorful Temari balls made with Kreinik thread. Here, Temari converges with weaving, then mixes with spinning and parties with all kinds of other fiber arts. The creativity is outstanding, but the little girl in me keeps going back to those balls. Come with me.
Hopefully you remember the time Mr. X held Temari Tuesday, When Mistress T mentioned them, or when Madeline Scharpf wrote her great article for this site on “Temari! Temari! I love ya, Temari!” If you aren’t familiar, however, they are Japanese thread balls, a thousand-year-old folk art craft that started as handmade toys for children.
Wikipedia tells you the significance: “Temari are highly valued and cherished gifts, symbolizing deep friendship and loyalty. Also, the brilliant colors and threads used are symbolic of wishing the recipient a brilliant and happy life.” Let me add the magical part: designs are like puzzles, color combinations are energizing, and fiber blends are mesmerizing. A Temari ball is order, completeness, a little world in itself. The patterns are structured and balanced, consequently we marvel and admire these balls of thread. In keeping with tradition, you could use these in handball games or set them on stands as artwork in your home. In addition, imagine meditating with a Temari ball in your hand, letting creative energy and inspiration connect with you.
How to get started
In prepping the Kreinik vendor booth for the Convergence convention, we pulled Temari collected by Kreinik staff over the years to display at the show. Let this gallery inspire you to investigate this amazing technique. As a stitcher who plays with patterns and threads, your skills can translate. Think of them as round stitching projects.
A few good websites to get you started: www.temari.com from Diana Vandervort. Also Ginny Thompson’s website www.temarikai.com, and www.japanesetemari.com by Barbara Suess. I have worked with each of these artists, and their instructions, designs, photos, and resources are excellent.
Keep your eyes open for Temari balls at antique stores, auction sites, and estate sales to begin a colorful collection.